Grand Canyon Trying To Manage Bison Herds

April 02, 2014

Herds of bison that roam the northern parts of the Grand Canyon are causing headaches for park staffers.

The bison were introduced in the early 1900s as part of a ranching project to crossbreed them with cattle and create what was to have been called ‘cattalo.’ 

But when early attempts to breed bison with cows failed, the bison were sold to the state.

It now maintains them on land outside the national park, but the animals have been spending a majority of their time inside the canyon boundaries. While they don’t actually enter the canyon, they do graze in other sensitive areas, such as habitat for the Mexican spotted owl, and around archaeological sites and springs.

Grand Canyon officials are looking for ways to manage the roughly 300 bison in a way that preserves the park’s resources and allows for a free-ranging population that can be hunted on nearby forest land.